Preventing and Safely Removing Ice Dams from Your Home

January 2, 2022

Winter brings with it a plethora of joys, including snowmen, hot chocolate, and cozy evenings by the fireside. However, it also brings with it a more challenging task – dealing with ice dams. Ice dams are ridges of ice that form at the edge of your roof, trapping melting snow and water on your roof. This can lead to water damage, leaks, and even structural damage to your home. Preventing and safely removing ice dams from your home are essential to maintaining the integrity and safety of your roof and home. In this article, we will go over some tips on how to prevent and safely remove ice dams.

Preventing Ice Dams

The best way to deal with ice dams is to prevent them from forming in the first place. Here are some tips to help you prevent ice dams:

1) Keep Your Gutters and Downspouts Clear: Clogged gutters and downspouts can prevent snowmelt from draining away from your roof, leading to ice dams. Be sure to keep your gutters and downspouts clear of debris.

2) Ensure Proper Insulation: Inadequate insulation in your roof can cause some areas to be warmer than others. The heat from your home can then escape through the roof, melting snow and causing ice dams. Ensuring proper insulation will prevent heat from escaping through the roof, keeping your home at a consistent temperature.

3) Ventilate Your Attic: Adequate ventilation is necessary to allow warm air to escape from your attic, preventing it from melting the snow on your roof. Proper ventilation will also help keep your roof deck cool, preventing snowmelt from refreezing and forming an ice dam.

4) Allow Snow to Accumulate: Believe it or not, leaving a layer of snow on your roof can actually help prevent ice dams. The layer of snow on your roof acts as insulation, keeping the heat from escaping and melting the snow.

Safely Removing Ice Dams

If an ice dam has already formed on your roof, you can safely remove it using the following steps:

1) Safely Access Your Roof: Before attempting to remove an ice dam, be sure to safely access your roof. Wear proper footwear and use a sturdy ladder to climb up to your roof.

2) Soften the Ice: Use a long-handled roof rake or a gentle stream of water from a hose to soften the ice on your roof. Be careful not to use hot water, as this can cause damage to your shingles.

3) Remove the Ice Dam: Use a plastic shovel or an ice pick to remove the ice dam from your roof. Be careful not to damage your shingles or gutters while doing so.

4) Prevent Further Ice Dams: Once you have removed the ice dam from your roof, take measures to prevent another one from forming. This may include clearing your gutters and downspouts, insulating your roof, or improving ventilation in your attic.


Ice dams are a common winter problem that can cause significant damage to your home. By taking the necessary precautions to prevent ice dams from forming and safely removing them when they do, you can keep your home safe and secure throughout the winter season. Remember to always prioritize safety when removing an ice dam and, when in doubt, call a professional to assist you. Stay safe and enjoy the winter wonderland!